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‘I want to give my customers a magical experience’: Chiharu Perera on costume designing and more 

Chiharu Perera

Japanese costume designer Chiharu Perera started her brand Peachy Life Factory in Sri Lanka five years ago, when she came back to Sri Lanka from Japan. The name “Peachy Life Factory” is derived from the Japanese saying “peachy life”, meaning “have an awesome life”. Her biggest aim with her products is to make people happy with her costumes and give them a magical experience. She has previously worked at Disneyland, and she now uses her years of experience to design customised costumes for kids and adults.

Brunch had a chat with Perera about her brand. She creates unique and custom designs, and in a recent collaboration with another brand, she began creating heat packs made from rice. Along with her costumes, she also creates head gear and accessories to match. Speaking about her most unique costume, she described it to be an animal outfit – a bunny, to be specific – that she designed herself.

Giving us an insight into her days in Japan as a costume designer, she shared that she made costumes for Japanese musicians and idols, creating colourful and creative outfits for multiple shows. She has also showcased her designs at many dramas and cultural shows in Japan.

Her most recent collaboration was with @yellowoven_colombo on Instagram, coming up with the concept of the “Black Sesame” set, which includes a rice spa back pillow which can be customised according to your request, along with a range of black sesame treats. The back pillow comes from her “Relaxation” range where she creates products like eye masks and neck pillows made out of rice. Talking about the benefit of these items, she said: “For many adults, a good night’s sleep is a luxury. Yet, with all you do at work and at home, you deserve a little luxury. That’s why you need a weighted eye mask.”

Like regular eye masks, a weighted one is a sleeping aid. But these unique products combine the benefits of a regular eye mask with a science-backed method to help you sleep, as it improves relaxation, helping you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. That’s why a weighted sleep mask is an excellent weapon in your arsenal against a poor night’s rest. It also provides great relief for anyone suffering from migraines. Perera added that her back pillow can be heated up in the microwave and used as a heating pack, which provides relief against aches and pains and is great for menstrual cramps as well.

We asked Perera what she has found her biggest challenge to be when creating costumes, to which she commented that in Sri Lanka, it is very hard to find good-quality material, unlike in Japan where it was readily available. The situation has worsened since Covid, as lockdown and travel restrictions meant shops were closed and she could not go out to purchase the materials. “I had to buy my material online, which is risky, as more often than not, what you see in the pictures are not close to the real thing. It is important to touch the material in order to review the quality.”

She emphasised how important it is to have material of good quality to ensure long-lasting wear and bring out the intricate details in the design. For example, if she was making a fairy dress, the material needs to be tough enough not to tear at the smallest inconvenience. Because of the unavailability and difficulty in obtaining materials, her business has slowed down and she commented that Covid has changed the way in which she works.

Talking about how Covid affected the business, she stated: “Because of Covid, I switched from only making costumes to a wider range of unique and useful products like the rice mask. Not many people know or have seen these products, but in Japan, it is quite common, especially because of its numerous benefits. So I decided to introduce it here as well.”

Perera has plans to introduce more items into her “Relaxation” line as well as an eco-friendly dishcloth line, which she crochets by hand.

 

Instagram: @peachy_life_factory